Eruditorum Press

Gaze not into the abyss lest you accidentally write a book

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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a “heretical” history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.

2 Comments

  1. Daibhid C
    February 8, 2017 @ 12:44 pm

    Sorry to hear this didn’t live up to the promise. Also, kind of disappointed the Malibu issues don’t have “STAR TREK” in the DS9 font.

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  2. Allyn
    February 13, 2017 @ 2:11 pm

    This article prompted me to dig out the DVD-ROM that was released almost ten years ago of all of the pre-IDW Star Trek comics. (Well, all but the two X-Men crossovers.) Saturday morning, I reread the entire
    TNG/DS9 crossover, even a free preview issue of the mini-series that Malibu issued that had an interview with Barr and Friedman about the series. (Until I looked on the DVD-ROM, I had no idea such a thing even existed, but it’s there on the DVD-ROM.)

    Read in toto, in a single sitting, there’s an odd texture to the series as the writers shift from Friedman to Barr and back to Friedman. The overall story holds together (which I would characterize as a “DS9 story guest-starring the TNG characters”), though the characterizations don’t quite line up across the four parts, let alone with the television characterizations. (Sisko, in particular, never feels like Avery Brooks, no matter who’s writing him). Heck, even some story arcs don’t line up (I’m thinking particularly of the O’Brien arc, which has a certain direction in part 1, then veers off entirely in parts 2 and 3). On the other hand, Riker’s characterization (he’s at his most charmingly a-hole-ish) is consistent across the two parts. His polite conversation with O’Brien, which ends with completely blowing him off, in the first part is followed up with the unnecessary dressing down of Kira in the second; he decides to be a dick to Kira, even though it’s clear from the start that he’ll let her join his Away Team mission.

    One other reason for the odd texture is that, despite the consistent Purcell/Pallot art team across the series, the DC and Malibu chapters look different due to coloring and page layout. Malibu’s coloring style is different than DC’s (notice that Troi’s uniform green isn’t the same in the Malibu issues as the DC issues), and Malibu doesn’t full-bleed the pages to the edges in the same way that DC does.

    One line of dialogue could have covered why they took a runabout into the wormhole instead of taking the Enterprise herself. Maybe it would take too much power for a veteron field (or similar technobabble) for a ship of the Enterprise‘s mass. Or, better, they could have had a three page sequence where they try to take the Enterprise, only to discover that the the distortion field that’s harming the wormhole is too powerful for a ship of the Enterprise‘s size, which leads to the wormhole. A sequence like that would have been more interesting than 1) Bashir’s attempts to entice Crusher to join him for dinner or 2) Riker’s dickishness to Kira.

    The Bashir-Crusher scenes in the series I found cringeworthy because they were badly written. I couldn’t hear Alexander Siddig or Gates McFadden behind any of the dialogue. And even though there’s an innocent explanation for their conversations given in part 3, that didn’t make them any less painful.

    As an aside, I noticed that the character arcs are generally wrapped up by Barr in part 3 (O’Brien, Bashir-Crusher), leaving Friedman part 4 to wrap up the plot. But that’s for future installments.

    Ro’s absence here didn’t bother me. First, as I mentioned in a comment on the first part of this storyline, I remembered that Ro only appeared in the DC issues by Friedman, not the Malibu issues by Barr. Second, unless Riker had chosen to take Ro with him on the away team mission, there wasn’t anything for Ro Laren, Enterprise-D bridge officer to do here. And there was little to no likelihood of Riker taking Ro, even though it would have made in-universe sense (in other words, Riker was used to working with her), because it didn’t make story sense with how Barr and Friedman set up their tale — they paired off the characters and had each crew interact as much as possible with their direct counterparts, either in terms of what they do in their world or what their narrative function is. (Some characters, like Odo and Data, have both.) On an away mission in that kind of story, Riker has to pair off with Kira.

    That is, in some ways, the story’s biggest flaw, forcing the characters into rigid pairings and making them work together rather than using the right characters organically to the situation. There are more interesting character pairings than the commanders always together, the tech guys always together, the doctors always together, the security chiefs always together, the “mirrors on humanity” always together, etc.

    This comment, by the way, was written on Saturday. After twenty minutes of frustration with the reCAPTCHA — every time I thought I had it beaten, my browser would pop up a window and tell me that it had lost its connection with Google and I needed to start over — I all but gave up. No website is worth that effort to post a comment. I even tried disabling JS in the browser and reloading the page, on the assumption that there must be a fallback for non-JS browsers (either a different CAPTCHA system or the comment goes into the WordPress approval queue), but all I got was a blocked attempt to render the reCAPTCHA box and an error message when I attempted to post. So I saved this to post later, and maybe someone is reading this because an overkill attempt to block spam (honestly, WordPress’ Akismet is more than sufficient for all but edge cases in dealing with spam) prevented it from being posted at the time.

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